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A Movie A Day: Quint's seen SAN QUENTIN (1937)
Now that you've had a good look at my face, how do ya' like it?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Today I took a look at 1937’s SAN QUENTIN starring Pat O’Brien as an army man who is brought in to bring order to the inmates at San Quentin prison, Ann Sheridan as a lounge singer that O’Brien has the hots for and Humphrey Bogart in an early role as a criminal with a good man locked up inside… oh, and he’s incarcerated, under O’Brien’s rule… and happens to be Sheridan’s brother.

We follow Sheridan over from yesterday’s James Cagney vehicle CITY FOR CONQUEST. She’s gorgeous here, but definitely plays a smaller role. She sings a beautiful song called ‘How Could You?’ ending it looking O’Brien deep in the eyes. She flashes him a smile… the type of smile that explains why wars were started over love. You can’t fault the guy for falling for her. Not that there’s anything wrong with their romance, except that later on O’Brien is accused of favoritism when he’s been nothing but fair to everybody. The film is only 70 minutes long and there’s not a whole lot going on, but we get a good glimpse at prison life as we follow Bogart through his fish days. I love Bogie. It’s actually kinda funny… If I’m not mistaken, his character in DARK PASSAGE (next to CASABLANCA my favorite Bogart film) is newly escaped from San Quentin… I wonder if these two would work screening back to back… Anyway, I was a bit worried that Bogart would play a very minor role, but he is second billed for a reason… and while O’Brien starts off the film and is top billed, the movie is about Bogart’s Joe Kennedy. Kennedy has the biggest arc, the biggest internal conflict and drives all the other characters in the story. All the drama seems to be surrounding his character… the accusations of favoritism, the quandary of whether or not to try escape while working the road work detail, the consequences of that decision… all surround Bogart’s character. And he’s great in the movie. Not quite CASABLANCA or MALTESE FALCON iconic, but the charisma is there.

The direction’s competent, not flashy… not all that inventive… very little camera movement. It’s very much of its time, meaning it’s stagy. The photography by WHITE HEAT’s Sidney Hickox is nice and sharp, beautiful black and white photography. Here’s the schedule for the next 7 days: Friday, June 20th: 42nd STREET (1933) Saturday, June 21st: DAMES (1934) Sunday, June 22nd: GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 (1935) Monday, June 23rd: MURDER, MY SWEET (1944) Tuesday, June 24th: BORN TO KILL (1947) Wednesday, June 25th: THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) Thursday, June 26th: TORN CURTAIN (1966) Tomorrow we jump to 42nd STREET via director Lloyd Bacon. It’s part of the Busby Berkeley DVD set and the first of a trio of Berkeley flicks we’re getting. See you guys then! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest

Readers Talkback
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  • June 20, 2008, 12:25 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    And what's great about this DVD is the pre-show package you can choose to watch before the movie... it includes a newsreel (bombing in China "watch as Shanghai, the New York of the Orient, is bombarded!"), an early Porky Pig Cartoon, a preview of a Bette Davis and Edward G. Robinson movie and a weird technicolor short film... Pretty great extra... kind of like Grindhouse for the '30s films.

  • June 20, 2008, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Sound of Music

    by kungfuhustler84

    really dude? how did you manage to avoid that one?

  • June 20, 2008, 12:29 a.m. CST

    i love that

    by kungfuhustler84

    they have something like that on the 1930s Adventures of Robin Hood also, with an old cartoon and everything. More old DVDs should have that. It's always fun to see a little time capsule just open up like that.

  • June 20, 2008, 12:31 a.m. CST

    I think they called it

    by kungfuhustler84

    Warner Night at the Movies

  • June 20, 2008, 12:47 a.m. CST

    am I the only person

    by kungfuhustler84

    on the internet right now?

  • June 20, 2008, 12:48 a.m. CST

    Torn Curtain?!?!

    by grungies

    Dammit, you can be forgiven for that. And here we all were thinking you hadn't seen an actually important Hitchcock film...

  • June 20, 2008, 12:57 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    There are a few Hitchcocks I haven't seen... that sounded really dirty, but you know what I mean. Torn Curtain was not the one I was referring to in yesterday's talkback...

  • June 20, 2008, 1:38 a.m. CST


    by Napoleon Park

    Humphrey Bogart in an early role as a criminal... oh, and he’s incarcerated... and happens to be Sheridan’s sister.<p>Okay, well that changes everything.

  • June 20, 2008, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Bogart in To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything Julie Newmar

    by Ether.Thatsme

    You'd think Bogart playing a woman would have been worth more of a mention.

  • June 20, 2008, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Quint, ever seen...

    by Sheeld

    I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang? That's gotta be my favorite movie from the early sound era. Seeing u've missed quite a few must see movies (not a dig, just an observation), be sure to add that to your list asap if you haven't seen it yet!

  • June 20, 2008, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Those old Warners'

    by Shoegeezer

    DVDs are really well put together. A movie, a short, a cartoon, a newsreel. Some great stuff on them.

  • June 20, 2008, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Technical Hitch

    by NeilMcCauleysBrother

    Is it Shadow of a Doubt? The Lady Vanishes?

  • June 20, 2008, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Bogart in an early role and happens to be Sheridan’s sister.

    by RenoNevada2000

    Must be a different edit of SAN QUENTIN than I saw.

  • June 20, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST


    by The Brain Machine

    You've made it 18 days in a row so far. Keep up the good work, man! These have been really fun to read. <br> <br> That pic of Bogart in a tight embrace with a guy in the bottom corner of the lobby card is a great example of Bogie's acting ability. I never knew he played a woman in any of his movies. And in a prison film, to beat. Sweet. <br> <br> That has be be the funniest typo on AICN in a long time...

  • June 20, 2008, 10:21 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    I meant to do that... I can't explain way, but... um... I changed it to "brother" now so... uh... the masses could understand and not get confused with... uhhh... my brilliant... um... plan... yeah... Hey, look! A big yellow plant! ::scuttles away::

  • June 20, 2008, 11 a.m. CST

    Moriarty's behind with his Dirty Harry/Rambo thing

    by Tacom

    Big surprise.

  • July 5, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST